Loss of tumorigenicity and increased immunogenicity induced by interleukin-10 gene transfer in B16 melanoma cells

Hum Gene Ther. 1996 Jan;7(1):23-31. doi: 10.1089/hum.1996.7.1-23.


Because interleukin-10 (IL-10) has potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties and is produced by some cancers, we hypothesized that its production might play a role in carcinogenesis by inhibiting adequate antitumoral immune responses. To test this hypothesis, retroviral vectors containing the IL-10 cDNA were generated and used to infect B16F1 melanoma cells that were injected subcutaneously in syngeneic mice. Surprisingly, IL-10 gene transfer resulted in a loss of tumorigenicity that was proportional to the amount of IL-10 secreted. Histological analysis showed massive area of necrosis of these tumor cells, with infiltration of polymorphic inflammatory cells. Parental cells simultaneously implanted had decreased tumorigenicity only when mixed with IL10-producing cells, but not when injected contralaterally, suggesting that their eradication is mediated mostly by a local phenomenon. Host T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells were involved in this eradication because IL-10-producing cells grew in nude mice and in CD8+ or NK-depleted mice. Finally, mice injected with IL-10-secreting cells developed an antitumoral systemic immune response able to protect them against a subsequent challenge with parental cells. These results demonstrate that, in some settings, IL10 may have in vivo immunostimulating and proinflammatory properties that need to be considered in its therapeutic development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Carcinogenicity Tests
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Immunogenetics
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Melanoma / immunology*
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Interleukin-10